This marketing swill is so evil.
For a current AT&T customer the cost has not fallen, it's gone UP a lot -- an additional $360 over two years. The increase is so large because the previous iPhone pricing was a great deal for a current AT&T customer. Current AT&T customers could buy an iPhone for the same cost as a new AT&T customer, and that's unheard of in the US mobile marketplace.
AT&T has now moved iPhone pricing in line with other "smartphone" pricing (which must make BlackBerry happier).
I've updated a prior post, here are some key excerpts ...
Ok, so for a new AT&T customer buying an iPhone the price has gone up by $160 over two years. Things are worse, however, for an AT&T customer
... According to a press release from AT&T, the carrier will no longer give a portion of monthly usage fees to Apple. Instead carriers will pay Apple a subsidy for each phone sold, in order to bring the price from $399 down to $199 for the 8 Gigabyte model. The company did not specify the amount of the subsidy. Subsidies of $200 to $300 are common in the industry.
What is more, consumers will now pay $30 a month for unlimited data service from AT&T, compared to $20 under the plan introduced last year. So even though the phone will now cost $200, consumers will be out more cash at the end of a two-year contract compared to the previous deal.
...SMS messages are no longer included in the data plan either, so you'll have to pay extra for them. Previously, the data plan included 200 SMS messages per month. AT&T's Messaging 200 plan, which includes 200 SMS messages, costs $5 per month, so it would seem likely that the iPhone 3G's SMS plan would be similar...
Current AT&T customers don't get the $200 discount on new phones. So for a current AT&T customer, the two year cost of a 16GB iPhone hasn't increased by $160, it's increased by $360.
A $360 increase over a two year ownership period is a substantial increase.
I spit in the general direction of Apple marketing.